In the 22 years covered by this album, jazz developed very quickly
from the early white beginnings of the ODJB and the more authentic
black music of King Oliver. The third track has Bessie Smith,
who to some ‘traddies’ is the only true blues singer, featured
with Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson. The Black Bottom
Stomp already had a more arranged style and Jelly Roll Morton,
who claimed to have invented jazz, and his band have a very spirited
Stringin’ the Blues is a new version to me and I very much enjoyed
the Venuti/Lang combination on this one. The Red Nicholls track
has Jimmy Dorsey on alto and clarinet and Bix’s very easily identifiable
style is heard to good effect on I'm Coming Virginia.
The 1927 version of the Black and Tan Fantasy features Jabbo
Smith growling away on trumpet and the unique Tricky Sam Nanton
on Trombone with the Ellington Band. West End Blues is classic
Armstrong Hot Five stuff; the intro to this piece has been the
downfall of many imitators! Monday Date is given very pleasing
treatment by the Jimmy Noone group and there is a fine piano chorus
from Earl Hines on piano.
The sleeve note gives credit to McKinney’s Cotton Pickers for
Miss Hannah, but the back of the sleeve gives all credit to Don
Redman, after all he was the MD. He also provides the vocal as
well as playing lead alto on this one. Coleman Hawkins is also
present, but I don’t think he was the soloist on this one from
1929. The next track features the amazing Jack Teagarden, who
must be given a lot of credit for changing the role of the trombone
in jazz outfits from means of rhythmic propulsion, to solo instrument.
The next track moves us on to 1935 and the start of the swing
era; Bunny Berigan is featured with the Goodman band, which also
included Gene Krupa at the drums and Arthur Rollini on tenor.
As you would expect from Goodman a polished big band performance.
Netch’a dream features Coleman Hawkins on tenor and even at this
stage, the big sound for which he was famous was much in evidence.
Polished big band stuff again on My Blue Heaven from the Jimmie
Lunceford Band, which included Sy Oliver who wrote the arrangement,
Willie Smith on Lead alto and Eddie Durham on trombone. Albert
Ammons was the king of Boogie Woogie and his performance on Boogie
Woogie Stomp is a classic of the genre, I suspect Boogie Woogie
is the intro. point into jazz for many young people.
The 1936 Christopher Columbus from Fletcher Henderson is another
big band classic, Roy Eldridge plays his usual exciting trumpet
and Chu berry is featured on tenor. Buster Bailey leads the saxes
and the band is very neat and precise. It was good to hear Lester
Young playing the intro to This Years Kisses with Teddy Wilson’s
band that included Benny Goodman. The vocalist is of course Lady
Day although she only sings one chorus.
Art Tatum had a tremendous influence on all the pianists who
followed him, he really changed the way everyone played jazz piano,
his performance of Gone With the Wind is easily worth the price
of the album. Similarly Lionel Hampton who started his career
as a drummer, introduced the vibraphone into jazz, on Ring Dem
Bells he is heard with an all star combo that includes Cootie
Williams, Johnny Hodges, Jess Stacey and Sonny Greer.
The Hot Club of France are heard on Honeysuckle Rose playing
the kind of timeless music that Stephane Grappelli continued to
play up to his death in 1997. Texas Shuffle is the 1938 version
of the Basie band with Buck Clayton, Harry Edison and Dickie Wells,
as well as Herschel Evans and Lester Young.
The Bechet Spanier Band of 1940 was a bit of a throw back to
earlier times, but it is very pleasant and there is obviously
a good rapport between the joint leaders. The last track is the
1940 version of Cottontail from the Duke featuring the superb
tenor playing of Ben Webster. Ben was one of the real giants of
jazz and the Ellington Band was on great form on this recording,
the ensemble playing is superb and the sax soli sublime.
There has been a lot of these type of CD’s on the market lately,
but this one justifies it’s name Finest Vintage Jazz and Ray Crick
must be congratulated on it’s compilation.